« ПретходнаНастави »
been a persistent loser all the way through. A few individuals no doubt made money by exploiting their sympathies for one or the other of the belligerent groups. For instance, one has to be an out and out Venizelist in order to be able to import this or that commodity. The British Legation's Official Commercial Bureau in Athens will not consider any petition which comes from a party known for its anti-Ententist sentiments. This may be all well and good; the merchant who for one reason or another comes out flat-footed against anything the Allies stand for may well be deprived of the facilities afforded by the mistress of the seas to her friends and supporters, irrespective of what international law and The Hague Conventions say.
But the system as applied in Greece has opened the gate for many abuses; Ententist sentiment has been so closely connected with the Liberal Party that none but the Venizelist is considered a Simon Pure friend of the Allies.
It is here, then, that the abuse comes in; Venizelos cannot take charge of the commercial interests of his political friends; he is too busy a man for that; he therefore allows the Liberal Club to attend to that end of his political game. This Liberal Club is in a way a miniature Tammany Hall, and its sole purpose is to afford every facility to the friends of the party who need political help in their different transactions with Government offices; in the case of foreign imports into Greece, the British Legation as a rule is satisfied with any importer shown to be in good standing with the Liberal Club, as that is taken to mean that the man is a Venizelist, and therefore an ardent supporter of the Entente.
A Favored Trade Faction One can imagine what happens between the various competing merchants, who may be stationed in the opposed political camps. Naturally, the one plays the other on the score of political sentiment; Venizelist fights anti-Venizelist in the struggle for the much needed permit to bring imports into Greece, and as it happens always on such occasions, the
ultimate consumer pays the penalty for a system which gives one set of people all the chance to get rich, while it deprives the other of the very means of livelihood. Commercial freedom once abolished, the country pays highest prices for everything that comes from abroad, and this means almost every commodity, as Greece produces little in the way of foodstuffs, clothing, coal, or machinery.
In the case of Holland, Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, and Rumania, there was the alternative of getting from Central Europe what Britain and her allies, or America, could not supply; such an alternative did not exist in Greece. Therefore, her difficult position. With a merchant marine envied by countries much larger and wealthier than herself, Greece in many instances suffered the trials of Tantalus, and found, much to her surprise, that in this world war she was the only European country without friends. Of course her neutrality is to blame for this; she came out on the first day of the war as a neutral benevolent to the Entente, and thus lost every chance of friendly consideration from the Teutons; she objected to fighting in the Dardanelles and in Macedonia with the Allies, and discovered that her benevolent neutrality
a bad substitute for active cooperation with the Entente.
The only way open to Greece since Rumania's move is to enter the war in order to win her previous position in the favor of the Allies. A national necessity makes it imperative for her to attack the Bulgar and his allies. At this writing, therefore, the world is daily expecting the news that Hellas has declared war upon the Central Powers.
Popularity of Venizelos What Venizelos did in the five years he served as Prime Minister of Greece has made him the most popular of all political leaders that country ever had. Faith in what he thinks, in what he says, and in what he proposes is so great with a large class of the people that it can only be compared to a child's faith in his father's thoughts and actions. For this
reason you will meet in and out of the realm an astonishingly large number of Greeks who say, when asked for their political views and opinions:
"I am for Venizelos simply and entirely; I do not want to discuss his program; I do not want to think that he may be mistaken; I am for him, no matter what he thinks, what he says, or what he expects to do.”
When speaking with such Greeks you immediately realize that no force of argument will shake them; moreover, they refuse to listen to any argument contrary to the opinion they have formed of their leader, and that is the end of it.
Venizelos knows this. He knows also that the Liberal Party, which he formed on his arrival from Crete six years ago, is more than a political group; Liberalism and Venizelism have something of the religious element in them. For the equivalent of this movement one has to come here to America, and learn what the Progressive Party stood for, at its first appearance four years ago.
The Cretan statesman, backed by the entire Greek people, condemned and attacked what he termed the “ favlokratia or the “rule of the incompetent,” which had made Greece the plaything of politicians and the least considered factor in the Balkan situation. Venizelos sprang into the political life of Greece as the outcome of a revolution and was quick enough to seize the opportunity to put the country on its feet. Following on the steps of this movement came the two Balkan wars, with the subsequent Greek successes. The results of those memorable victories left a profound impression on the Greek people. Greece, considered a decadent nation even by her friends, had shown her ability to live and go forward to a brilliant destiny; a new faith in the country's moral as well as material resources took the place of the enthusiasms of the past, and the whole nation was reborn after 1913.
His Labors for Greece Venizelos now tackled the problem of extensive internal reforms, tending mainly to a consolidation of the new position of Greece in the Balkans and in Europe generally. To this end, peace, and a
rather long peace, was necessary,
and Venizelos prayed and worked for it. It was thus that he tried to revive the Balkan league, with the help of Serbia, Rumania, and even Bulgaria, notwithstanding the fresh memories of the second Balkan war. While Turkey was bent on a campaign of extermination against the Greek populations of the empire, the Cretan statesman busied himself in finding some way whereby the Greco-Turkish differences could be settled without a new war, although he was preparing for such an emergency through the purchase from America of the battleships Mississippi and Idaho, since renamed Lemnos and Kilkis.
All these efforts were reduced to nought by the outbreak of the European war; a new situation was thereby created, and new possibilities began to face Greece. Hope for the maintenance of Balkan peace vanished when Turkey entered the conflict. What, then, was Greece to do? Venizelos took it for granted that Turkey could not survive her war against Russia, Great Britain, and France; he looked to the dismemberment of the Osmanli Empire as the only logical and inevitable conclusion of the European conflict in the Near East, and only thought of the means by which Greece might help the Allies in the accomplishment of their task in that part of the world. This had been his program in the beginning of the great war, and this is his program today. It is true that many events have happened to change the original aspect of Greece's intervention in the war, but for Venizelos the outstanding fact lies in his belief that, come what may, Hellenic interests can never be anywhere but at the side of those of the Entente.
Greece's Natural Enemies The average Greek knows this; no matter where his political affiliations lie, he knows that Greece cannot put her fate in the same balance with Turkey, Bulgaria, Austria, and Germany. Turkey for one has always been in the way of everything Greek; Bulgaria has never ceased to be another Turkey in a modified form; Austria and Germany have always been the friends and protectors of Turkey to
the detriment of the most sacred interests of Hellenism. Austria helped delay Greek independence from 1821 to 1827 by continually assisting Turkey; Germany reorganized the Turkish Army, which dealt to Greece the cruel blow of 1897; furthermore, the German and Austrian commercial agent was the only competitor of the wideawake Greek in the Balkan peninsula from the Danube down, and all over Asia Minor.
These facts are so well known in Greece that you cannot even discuss them, because you will find no one to have a contrary opinion. It has been said that an educated class in Greece favors Germany; nothing could be more inexact than this argument. It is true that a large number of Greeks who studied in the German universities and technical colleges have acquired a thorough knowledge of German methods and ambitions; but, curiously enough, the Greeks who know Germany better are those who fear more her preponderance in the Balkans; they know that a German victory in the Greek peninsula will forever seal the doom of Greece.
The King's Position Venizelos, for one, declared after the beginning of the European war that Greece ought to fight immediately on the side of the Entente. Had King George been on the throne, Greece would have been in
game long ago; but Constantine had other notions regarding his constitutional duties and responsibilities; he considered the whole matter in the light of a
proposition, not only political but military; he weighed the Venizelos arguments on one side and the military considerations on the other and found the former wanting; he gathered about himself in his quality of Generalissimo of the Greek Armies his General Staff, and took counsel with them, and the result was that all of them agreed that Greece's participation in the war, both in March and in October, 1915, would have resulted in the catastrophe that overwhelmed both Belgium and Serbia.
The men who expressed this opinion were the leaders of two victorious campaigns; no one would have doubted their ability in technical matters or their patriotism. The soldiers who fought ard won under those leaders, and who are the Greek people itself in its best expression; the men who saw their King and their officers in battle and who knew how deep was their love for the mother country, never for a moment thought that any of them could turn traitor to the Hellenic cause.
No one can assume that Venizelos is a patriot and that the King is not; no one can place absolute faith in the political ability of Venizelos and deny a military ability to the King and the officers of the Greek General Staff.
Now the guns are roaring this side of the Hellenic frontier, while French, British, Serbian, Italian, and Russian troops face the Bulgar-Teuton coalition, and Rumanian armies are fighting in Transylvania. The hour of Greece struc': when Rumania intervened in behalf of the Allies,
A Mathematical War Jest Jugend, the German comic weekly, has a curious little jape headed, “How long is the war going to last?” The question, it says, is the one topic of conversation everywhere. It gives the answer, working it out thus:
“Seventeen French villages have been won back by the English in the course of a week; nevertheless, 2,554 remain yet to be taken. A 150th part of the work of victory has thus been done. It will, therefore, be no less than two years eleven months and two weeks before France is freed of the last Boche.
“But this is by no means te only war aim of the Allies; Germany herself must be beaten and smashed down. Now Germany has, according to the last census, (excluding the towrs of over 100.000 inhabitants,) 5,328 communes, so that for their captura id vold take s'x yeurs one week and six days. The war must, therefore, be rerkored as taking eight years eleven months and six days from the beginning of the British offensive to the end, i. e., when the peace negotiations begin.”
Acluded the schism in the Moslem MONG the far-reaching effects of
the European war must be in
Proclamation by the Sherif of Mecca
world caused by Turkey's joining the Central Powers. The Grand Sherif of Mecca, Chief Magistrate of the holy city of the Mohammedans, announced his independence of Ottoman rule last June, and, supported by Arab tribes, captured the Turkish garrisons of Mecca and several other cities, proclaiming a definite rupture between orthodox Mohammedans and those represented by the Committee of Union and Progress, which is now in power in Turkey.
The Grand Sherif, who holds the holy places of Islam, and who is thus the present ecclesiastical master of the situation, has issued a long proclamation denouncing the Young Turk leaders of the Ottoman Empire, notably Djemal Pasha, Enver Pasha, and Talaat Bey, all stanch supporters of Germany and among the most powerful figures in Turkey. Enver Pasha is generally credited with the chief responsibility for Turkey's joining the Central Powers. Djemal Pasha is commander of the Turkish forces in Syria and is reported to have adopted severe measures to suppress the Arab revolt.
Following is the full text of the proclamation of the Grand Sherif of Mecca. If Arabia should continue to replace Turkey as the ruling power of the Mohammedan world, this will be a document of historic importance: In the name of God, the Merciful, the
Compassionate. This is our General Circular to all our Brother
Moslems. (" O Lord, do Thou judge between us and our nation with truth; for Thou art the
best Judge.'') It is well known that of all the Moslem rulers and Emirs, the Emirs of Mecca, the Favored City, were the first to recognize the Turkish Government. This they did in order to unite Moslem opinion and firmly establish their community, knowing that the great Ottoman Sultans (may the dust of their tombs be blessed, and may Paradise be their abode) were acting in accordance with the
Book of God and the Sunna of his Prophet, (prayers be upon him,) and were zealous to enforce the ordinances of both these authorities. With this noble end in view the Emirs before mentioned observe those ordinances unceasingly. I myself, protecting the honor of the State, caused Arabs to rise against their fellow-Arabs in the year 1327, in order to raise the siege of Abha, and in the following year a similar movement was carried out under the leadership of one of my sons, as is well known.
The Emirs continued to support the Ottoman Empire until the Society of Union and Progress appeared in the State and proceeded to take over the administration thereof and all its affairs, with the result that the State suffered loss of territory which quite destroyed its prestige, as the whole world knows; was plunged into the horrors of this war, and brought to its present perilous position, as is patent to all.
This was all done for certain well-known ends, which our feelings forbid us to dilate upon. They cause Moslem hearts to ache with grief for the Empire of Islam, for the destruction of the remaining inhabitants of her provinces-Moslem as well as nonMoslem-some of them hanged or otherwise done to death, others driven into exile. Add to this the losses they have sustained through the war in their persons and property, the latter especially in the Holy Land, as is briefly demonstrated by the fact that in that quarter the general stress compelled even the middle-classes to sell the doors of their houses, their cupboards, and the wood from their ceilings, after selling all their belongings to keep life in their bodies,
Maligning the Prophet All this evidently did not fulfill the designs of the Society of Union and Progress. They proceeded next to sever the essential bond between the Ottoman Sultanate and the whole Moslem community, to wit, adherence to the Koran and the Sunna. One of the Constantinople newspapers, called AlIjtihad, actually published an article maligning (God forgive us!) the life
of the Prophet, (on whom be the prayer and peace of God,) and this under the eye of the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire and its Sheik of Islam and all the Ulema, Ministers and nobles. It adds to this impiety by denying the Word of God, " The male shall receive two portions," and decides that they shall share equally under the law of inheritance. Then it proceeds to the crowning atrocity of destroying one of the five vital precepts of Islam, the Fast of Ramadan, ordering that troops stationed in Medina, Mecca, or Damascus may break the fast in the same way
as troops fighting on the Russian frontier, thereby falsifying the clear Koranic injunction, “ Those of you who are sick or on a journey." It has put forth other innovations touching the fundamental laws of Islam (of which tne penalties for infringement are well known) after destroying the Sultan's power, robbing him even of the right to choose the chief of his imperial Cabinet or the Private Minister of his august person, and breaking the Constitution of the Caliphate of which Moslems demand the observance.
In spite of all, we accepted these innovations in order to give no cause for dissension and schism. But at last the veil moved, and it became apparent that the empire was in the hands of Enver Pasha, Jemal Pasha, and Talaat Bey, who were administering it just as they liked, and treating it according to their own sweet will. The most striking proof of this is the notice lately sent to the Kadi of the Tribunal at Mecca, to the effect that he must deliver judgment solely on evidence written down in his presence in court, and must not consider any evidence written down by Moslems among themselves, thus ignoring the verse in the Surat-al-Baqara.
Murder and Profanation Another proof is that they caused to be hanged at one time twenty-one eminent and cultured Moslems and Arabs of distinction in addition to those they previously put to death-the Emir Omar el-Jazairi, the Emir Arif esh-Shibaba, Shefik Bey el-Moayyad, Shukri Bey el-Asali, Abd el-Wahhab, Taufik Bey el-Basat, Abd el-Hamid el-Zahrawi, Abd el-Ghani el-Arisi, and their companions, who
well-known men. Cruel-hearted men could not easily bring themselves to destroy so many lives at one blow, even if they were as beasts of the field. We might hear their excuse and grant them pardon for killing those worthy men; but how can we excuse them for banishing under such pitiful and heart-breaking circumstances the families of their victims-infants, delicate women, and aged men-and inflicting on them other forms of suffering in addition to the agonies they had already endured in the death of those who were the support of their homes?
God says, “No burdened soul shall bear the burden of another." Even if we could let all this pass, how is it possible we can forgive them confiscating the property and money of those people after bereaving them of their dear ones? Try to suppose we closed our eyes to this also, feeling that they might have some excuse on their side; could we ever forgive them desecrating the grave of that pious, zealous, and godly man the Sherif Abd el-Kadir el-Jazairi el-Hasani?
Shelling the Temple The above is a brief account of their doings, and we leave humanity at large, and Moslems in particular, to give their verdict. We have sufficient proof of how they regard the re
ligion and the Arab people in the fact that they shelled the Ancient House, the temple of the Divine Unity, of which it is said in the Word of God, Purify My house for those that pass round it," the Kibla of Mohammedans, the Kaaba of believers in the Unity, firing two shells at it from their big guns when the country rose to demand its independence. One fell about a yard and a half above the Black Stone and the other three yards from it. The covering of the Kaaba was set in a blaze. Thousands of Moslems rushed up, with shouts of alarm and despair, to extinguish the flames. To reach the fire they were compelled to open the door of the building and climb on to the roof. The enemy fired a third shell at the Makam Ibrahim, in addition to the projectiles and bullets aimed at the rest of the building. Every day three or four people in the building itself were killed, and at last it became difficult for the Moslems to approach the Kaaba at all.
We leave the whole Mohammedan world from East to West to pass judgment on this contempt and profanation of the Sacred House. But we are determined not to leave our religious and national rights as a plaything in the hands of the Union and Progress Party. God (blessed and exalted be He) has vouchsafed the land an opportunity to rise in revolt, has enabled her by His power and might to seize her independence and crown her efforts with prosperity and victory, even after she was crushed by the maladministration of the Turkish civil and military officials. She stands quite apart and distinct from countries that still groan under the yoke of the Union and Progress Government. She is independent in the fullest sense of the word, freed from the rule of strangers and purged of every foreign influence. Her principles are to defend the faith of Islam, to elevate the Moslem people, to found their conduct on the holy law, to build up the code of justice on the same foundation in harmony with the principles of religion, to practice its ceremonies in accordance with modern progress, to make a genuine revolution by sparing no pains in spreading education among all classes according to their station and their needs.
This is the policy we have undertaken in order to fulfill our religious duty, trusting that all our brother Moslems in the East and West will pursue the same in fulfillment of their duty to us, and so strengthen the bands of the Islamic brotherhood.
We raise our hands humbly to the Lord of Lords for the sake of the Prophet of the all-bountiful King that we may be granted success and guidance in whatsoever is for the good of Islam and the Moslems.
We rely upon Almighty God, who is our sufficiency and the best defender.-The Sherif and Emir of Mecca.
EL HUSEIN IBN ALI, 25th Sha'ban, 1334, (June 27, 1916.)